‘Glimmer of hope’ from Visa outlay

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Consumer spending on Visa cards has increased in recent months, offering a “glimmer of hope” for the economy, a report found.

Seasonally adjusted figures from Visa Europe’s UK Expenditure Index showed a spending increase in the three months to September of 0.4 per cent, seen as a more reliable indication of underlying trends.

General expenditure went up by 2.5 per cent month-on-month – but it was down by 0.9 per cent compared with 12 months ago.

Visa said this was a slight improvement on August, when the year-on-year decline was 1.3 per cent.

The index is based on spending on all Visa debit, credit and prepaid cards, which account for every £1 in £4 of all UK spending.

Shoppers are increasingly going online to grab a bargain and spending in hotels and restaurants has also gone up.

But the squeeze on household finances has also seen them tighten their belts when it comes to buying a car and paying for transport, phone and internet, food and clothing.

The September data showed online spending has gone up by 8.9 per cent in a year, while purchases made “face-to-face” in the UK have slumped by 2.1 per cent.

The report said that while the figures offer a “glimmer of hope for the UK economy”, they “continue to paint a picture of a subdued UK consumer.

“This reflects a combination of factors such as a squeeze in household finances and ongoing job insecurity.”